Hence, after studying the DNA of animals buried with the Pharaohs, it was found that the great majority of those were cats. Snakes were a real issue in Ancient Egypt and the presence of cats reduced the threat of poisoning. According to several historians, the cat cult in Egypt started 5000 years ago, during the First and Second Dynasty. How many elephants did Hannibal take over the Alps. They were slaughtered by the millions to be mummified and serve as messengers to the gods. Hurting a cat was a punishable offence. While the Ancient Egyptians depicted many gods and goddesses with the characteristics of different animals, they perhaps admired no creature more than the cat. How many pyramid tombs are there in Egypt? It was believed that she protected the Chambers against scorpions, snakes and all sorts of evil. Anyone who harmed a cat, deliberately or not, would be sentenced to death. Provides expediting services for travel visas to Egypt, By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. They revered dogs for their ability to hunt and protect them, while cats for bringing good luck to people who kept them. This encouraged traders to smuggle cats into other countries by illegal means. So cats were not considered pets. Ordinary citizens and esteemed professionals alike noted the importance of cats in Egyptian culture. Ancient Egyptians not only worshipped cats, but also adored them as their family members. Cats appeared in art, always in a position of respect, and were domesticated into loving members of a family – so much so that they would be mourned and mummified after they died. Why were cats so important in Ancient Egypt? In the New Kingdom, the cat was considered an incarnation of the Sun god and the manifestation of the goddess Bastet. It was in Egypt that cats were first domesticated more than 4000 years ago, and around 2000 BCE that the fully domesticated cat was brought into the houses of Egyptians. The ancient Egyptian society relied heavily on agricultural activities. Usually, cats were dressed in jewels by wealthy families to appear royal. The cat in ancient Egypt, or miw (to see), was a sacred and respected beast. Egyptians believed cats were magical creatures, capable of bringing good luck to the people who housed them. Ancient Egyptians were known to worship many animals for many years. Wild cats are now known to have lived among the people of Mesopotamia over 100,000 years ago and to have been domesticated there approximately 12,000 BCE at about the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats. Cats were called Mau in Ancient Egypt, and initially the animals attained an important place as the protectors of the country’s grain, as they killed rodents and snakes. One of the most interesting traditions found in ancient Egypt is cat worshipping. Their lives were considered equivalent to the lives of humans, if not superior. Mafdet would later be replaced by Bastet, and the city of Bubastis became a centre of worship for this goddess of cats. They believed cats guarded their children and their homes. A whole branch of government was formed to just deal with this issue. Everything you ever wanted to know about... History TV and radio in the UK: what’s on our screens in December 2020? Owing to this, cats came to be regarded as protectors of evil by the ancient Egyptians, and were domesticated by them. However, no animal was held in such esteem as the cat. Hundreds of thousands descended on the temple there every year for the festival of Bast, which the visiting Greek historian Herodotus described as one of the most popular in all of Egypt. Due to this endearment of cats, there … The most famous Ancient Egyptian insect is the Scarab Beetle. In the New Kingdom, the cat was considered an incarnation of the Sun god and the manifestation of the goddess Bastet. According to James Allen Baldwin, cats are present in Egypt’s archaeological record as far back as the predynastic period, almost 5,000 years ago. Bastet, another goddess, is depicted with a cat head. The domesticated cat was a symbol of grace and poise because of the way it hunts its prey. The cat was embalmed and mummified and usually buried along with their masters. Egyptians harvested plants and crops to sustain the lives of family members and community members. It was against the law in ancient Egypt to harm a cat. More information on Bast. Recommended: CAT – Protects You And Your Home From Ghosts And Negative Spirits! In addition, cats in ancient Egypt kept the houses clean because when hunting rats and snakes, a carrier of serious diseases was eliminated, as the plague and the surroundings of nearby homes were safer. You can unsubscribe at any time. January 2020. The sanctuary was located in the city of Bubastis where the remains of numerous cat mummies and small cat sculptures have been found. The Egyptians were once at war with the Persians when a Persian general developed a plan that would work. Ancient Egyptian cats had a sacred status in because of the religious beliefs of Egyptian society. When cats died, they were buried along with their owners as a symbol of preserving them, alongside their owner. Killing one could be punishable by death. Although it has been commonly accepted that cats were first domesticated in Egypt 4000 years ago, their history among human beings goes back much further. Thanks! 12 Amazing facts about cats in ancient Egypt 1- The goddess Bastet had the cat as her sacred animal and was usually depicted as a woman with cat’s head or an entire cat and defended Ra, god of the Sun. The ancient Egyptians had great respect for … Why Were Cats So Important In Ancient Egypt? The worship of cats in ancient Egypt was well-founded. By the time of the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150-c. 2613 BCE) cattle were the most important animal and were regarded as objects of substantial wealth as made clear through the Egyptian Cattle Count which was a for… The cat’s independence was instinct for them, but to the Egyptians this was a sign of power. Bastet represented beauty, love, joy, happiness and was also the protector of humans. Cats were mighty and strong and held sacred. This article was first published in the January 2018 issue of BBC History Revealed magazine, Save a huge 50% off a subscription to your favourite history magazine. Several archaeological remains point towards the domestication of cats in Ancient Egypt. According to legend, at the Battle of Pelusium in 525 BC, the Persian soldiers carried cats in front of them, knowing that the Egyptian archers would not fire, in fear of harming the beloved felines. It's also interesting to note that while the Egyptians gave their pet dogs names, the only name we've … At a certain point in the Late Period, thousands of cats were produced in Egypt.” In ancient Egypt, cats were sacred animals. Cats: If you guessed cats were the most popular pet in ancient Egypt, you would be wrong. Cats were considered important and possessed a status equivalent to that of Gods. Animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, asses, and different kinds of birds were domesticated in the Pre-Dynastic Period (c.6000 - c. 3150 BCE) as evidenced by grave goods and overuse of the land for grazing. The ancient Egyptians sought to seek HistoryCats in ancient Egypt They had become a symbol of the Egyptian culture, a symbol we recognise and love even today. But while we love moggies for their companionship, Egyptian society fell in love with them for their skills at keeping the snake, rat, mice and scorpion populations down. In the following centuries since the fall of Third Dynasty, even the common people started keeping domistacted cats and worshipping them. There were two main breeds of cat native to Ancient Egypt. Eventually, it emerged as the guardian of domesticated cats. Thank you for subscribing to HistoryExtra, you now have unlimited access. In fact, every family had a cat. Cats likely became so entwined with Egyptian life for practical reasons: Agriculture attracted rodents, which attracted wild cats. Ancient Egyptians had crafted several laws to protect their cats. Sekhmet, another God was introduced as a much more fierce cat than Bastet, years later. Several pagan rituals were banned by the Romans in the following centuries, thus cat worshipping and religion grew apart. Why were cats important in ancient Egypt? Due to this endearment of cats, there were several laws to protect the creature. The cat achieved an importance that was increasing over the years, both religiously and socially. In the New Kingdom, the cat is trained to take it to bird hunting. Killing a cat, either on purpose or by accident led to a death punishment. The latter had a calmer temperament and so was more commonly domesticated than its wilder relative. There were many cats. Middle Eastern species of cats were domesticated in Egypt about 10,000 years ago and while various other animals were also considered sacred, cats had a special status among those animals. The ancient Egyptians honored cats of every color. more information Accept. The Egyptians thought cats to be important because they could keep themselves clean, without a person having to help them get around, manage them, or look after them. These are just but a few examples of the kind of high esteem that cats have been held to by both the current and past generations. Within Egypt, cats were originally the perfect solution to the overgrowth of rats and snakes in Egypt. Why Were Cats So Important In Ancient Egypt? Protection and Significance of the divine felines, How long does it take to get a visa to Egypt. Cats--or 'Mao' in Ancient Egyptian Language--were considered 'holy' creatures and symbols for the gods of Egypt. Through this behaviour, cats were perceived to have a protective nature which, combined with their ability to have lots of kittens, made them a symbol of the home, women, and fertility. There seems to be a problem, please try again. Cats in ancient Egypt were represented in social and religious practices of ancient Egypt for more than 3,000 years. Cats, however, occupied a special space in Ancient Egypt. Two goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon were even portrayed as cat-like- Bast and Sekhmet and were worshiped as long ago as 3000 b.c.e. The jungle cat (Felis chaus) and the African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica). You will shortly receive a receipt for your purchase via email. Although several statues of different gods and goddesses have been found with a cat head, Mafdet, a goddess revered as the protector of the pharoahs, appears to be the oldest. Cats . The deity Mut was also depicted as a cat and in the company of a cat. Significance of the divine felines in Egypt. Without them, civilization as we know it might have never survived! Scarab Beetle . Why were Cats so Important in Ancient Egypt?Wild Ciencias Channel :https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDBgTJ_aPb8YT4FuLZ6WU2w♦Consider to Support the … The Ancient Egyptians had Bastet and Sekhmet among other feline deities, and cats were even held in higher regard than men, drawing from the fact that harming a cat was an act punishable by death. Why were cats important in ancient Egypt . You have successfully linked your account! He knew how much the ancient Egyptians cared for their cats so he sent the soldiers to still as many cats as they could. 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